Nietzsche 5 : The Fragmentary (2016)

Michael Schwab, Paulo de Assis (co-author)

About this exposition

‘Nietzsche 5 : The Fragmentary’ is a collaborative research exposition, which presents a number of compositions by the young Friedrich Nietzsche (organised top to bottom) as well as various layers of reflection, interrogation, and speculation (organised left to right). It focuses on a moment of transformation around 1872 when Nietzsche moved from a serious interest in music composition to a career as a writer and philosopher. This period also coincides with the breakdown of Nietzsche’s friendship with Richard Wagner. The exposition suggests that Nietzsche’s own music as well as that of Wagner serves as a (negative) point of reference for the later Nietzsche, whose work, following Maurice Blanchot amongst others, can be characterised through the notion of the fragmentary, which places it also in relation to early Romanticism, in particular the writings of Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, and Friedrich Hölderlin. While Nietzsche’s more monumental compositions, such as his unfinished Mass (1860) and the symphonic poem Ermanarich (1861), may be more problematic, the exposition suggests that in some smaller pieces – in particular in So lach doch mal (1862) and Das ‘Fragment an sich’ (1871) – a sense of the fragmentary in Nietzsche may already be constructed. Beyond interpretations that focus more narrowly on Nietzsche’s work, this research exposition sets out to render the notion of the fragmentary productive for the wider context of artistic research. It does so with reference to Nietzsche’s notion of the untimely as a way to challenge both the dominant instrumentalisation of research and the notion of contemporaneity that seems central to present-day artistic practice. This not only provides perspectives into artistic epistemologies but also, more concretely, provides the methodology by which the research itself and its exposition have progressed. The overall mode is, thus, also that of the fragmentary, in which various media including text and image as well as audio and video recordings are distributed across a two-dimensional grid allowing multiple relationships and readings to emerge. The research exposition aims not only to discuss but ultimately also to employ the fragmentary so as to touch upon a specific artistic and intellectual motivation that we have come to identify with Nietzsche and which we suggest is also relevant today.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsNietzsche, artistic research, contemporaneity, epistemology, expositionality, fragment, the fragmentary, historicity, MusicExperiment21, untimely, Wagner, work
last modified05/02/2016
published inRuukku Studies in Artistic Research
portal issue5.
connected toRuukku Studies in Artistic Research

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